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A few QR marketing ideas for small businesses

As small businesses seek alternative or creative marketing ideas in the midst of an improving economy and more competitive marketing field, quick response codes are rapidly becoming "the next big thing."

You don't need to look far to find advertisements, commercials or print materials displaying a link to a company's Facebook or Twitter page but, by the end of the year, marketers can expect QR codes to be as ubiquitous as social media plugs. QR codes will provide billboards, flyers, direct mail items, postcards, movie posters, business cards and all other print media with a bridge to the digital universe.

But as the devices become popular, small businesses could benefit from a few basic QR ideas. For small retailers, a storefront QR display could help retain customers who've missed you [during] operating hours.

"One quick scan and you've turned a potential lost sale into an online customer who's going to share a lot more of their contact information with you," writes Rick Brooks for Fast Company.

For mobile promotions, distribute QR-embedded t-shirts to customers or staff members. If it is designed well, passersby may be intrigued enough to snap a photo of the code.

Another idea is to provide potential customers with deals or offers that are unique to QR users. Perhaps offer a one-time sale to customers who discovered your business through QR or run a contest, scavenger hunt or other participatory game that will entertain potential customers.

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